President of Women’s in International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA, Nigeria) Mrs Mary Hamman has recounted how the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) discriminated against women when she wanted to join the agency.
Mrs Hamman who was addressing school pupils in Lagos recently said that she joined the apex maritime agency 35 years ago when it it was still National Maritime Authority (NMA) after working at the Nigerian Postal Service.
Recounting her first experience at NIMASA, she said “I didn’t get into the shipping industry or get to hear anything about it as you are doing today, I read education, I was working with Nigerian Postal Services. That time, NIMASA was still NMA, somebody encouraged me and I walked into NIMASA without knowing anybody, and they were like ‘we don’t employ women here’ but I replied them that they should start with me, I was seeing some women moving up and down and you are telling me that you don’t employ women here, I decided that I would be one of those women”
“It is all about determination because I was coming from Borno State, and I am lucky to be from the plateau side, I struggle to find myself in Lagos and at the gate of NIMASA, it is how you push it, it does not have anything to do with where you are coming from or family background” she told the pupils.
Mrs Hamman lamented that maritime information has been something hidden from secondary schools, sounding the need for children to be exposed early to the potentials in the maritime sector.
According to her “People do not know that this is the biggest industry, the sea is bigger than the land, this means that the maritime sector has the largest jobs”
“I would soon retire, by next year I would have put in 35 years in service. It is good for the girls to know that you can grow in the industry, you can also tell your sisters that you can grow in the industry, there are many jobs in the sector, if you are onboard vessels, they pay you in dollars”
Haman works in the Shipping Development unit of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).